Last Week in the News


The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2009. The rebound ended four consecutive quarters of contracting economic activity, the longest period of decline since quarterly records began in 1947.

The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index fell to 47.7 in October from a revised 53.4 in September. Economists had expected a reading of 53.5. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose 1% in August. It was the third consecutive monthly gain and follows a 1.2% increase in July.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 1% in September after falling a revised 2.6% in August. Among the areas of strong growth were orders for heavy machinery, up 7.9%, the best showing since an 8.5% increase in March 2008.

The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell 3.6% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 from a downwardly revised rate of 417,000 in August. It was the first decline since March.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 to 530,000 in the week ending October 24. The figure was higher than the 525,000 that economists had forecast. The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits in the week ending October 17 fell by 148,000 to 5.8 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending and pending home sales on November 2, factory orders on November 3 and wholesale trade on November 6.

Anthony Crecco
   The Crecco Companies


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